The Greatest Irish Six Nations XV of the 00’s

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When people started to take notice of Irish Rugby.

The 00’s were a phenomenal decade of questionable haircuts and stick mitts but also an incredibly successful period in Irish Rugby history producing one of the Great Irish Sides.

Four Triple Crowns, 6/10 wins against England and one very long over-due Grand Slam: the decade marked a change in Irish Rugby. It was the dawn of a new era, a new generation and most of all a new belief.

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2009

Amongst the great and the good: O’Connell, O’Gara, Wood, one player stands tall above all: Brian O’Driscoll. His impact is best summarised by team mate Shane Horgan:

“In the 1990s there just wasn’t the belief that Ireland could win the big games… and then 2000 happened and, against the mighty French, Brian scored a hat-trick in Paris. That recalibrated everybody in Irish rugby. There suddenly was a view that it’s not impossible to beat France or England – because we have one of our own as good as anyone in the world. That changed the Irish mindset. We started to believe.”

O’Driscoll was the first truly World Class player and match winner Ireland had produced since Mike Gibson wore the Green Jersey in the 1970’s. Rugby though is a team sport and a world class individual will not win you a championship alone, just look at Italy & Sergio Parisse.

It would be easy to just name the Grand Slam side, or any one of the Triple Crown Sides of ’04, ’06 & ’07 but my selection is based on the form the player showed in the tournament during the decade as well as the potential of the possible combinations were every player in their prime.

Marcus Horan, Paul O'Connell and Jerry Flannery with Triple Crown Trophy 18/3/2006

The Greatest Irish Six Nations XV of the 00’s

1. Marcus Horan
2. Keith Wood
3. John Hayes
4. Donncha O’Callaghan
5. Paul O’Connell
6. Simon Easterby
7. David Wallace
8. Anthony Foley
9. Peter Stringer
10. Ronan O’Gara
11. Tommy Bowe
12. Gordon Darcy
13. Brian O’Driscoll (c)
14. Shane Horgan
15. Geordan Murphy

Replacements
16. Jerry Flannery
17. Reggie Corrigan
18. Malcolm O’Kelly
19. Stephen Ferris
20. Tomas O’Leary
21. David Humphreys
22. Dennis Hickie

Do you agree with this selection? Be sure to share and comment with your thoughts and opinions. Who should have made the XV or wider squad?

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